EuroSpaceHub at Switch2Space 2022 with LUNEX

Switch To Space made its third edition this year, and we could not miss it! The event – a unique opportunity for young students and young professionals in aerospace – was held at Egmont Palace in Brussels on 19th October and it took place in the framework of the Belgian Space Week. The program of the day was very rich. There were both plenary common sessions and panel discussions on different topics. Although there were a lot of in-person participants (more than 500!), it was also possible to connect online for the plenary meetings. Throughout the day there were also opportunities for students to meet face-to-face with recruiters from a number of both Belgian and international aerospace companies: indeed a unique time to promote young professionals! Several organisations set up their own booths in the hall of the beautiful Egmont Palace. Among the most interesting corners for young people was the “Pin your CV” spot. Here, students and recent graduates could pin their resumes on a dedicated wall, thus gaining visibility and promoting themselves as professionals. It was also possible to check open positions for internships and jobs that were advertised by the participating companies.  Some “Speed Dating” moments were instead planned to talk directly with recruiters.

What were the most explored topics during this year edition? There were seven subject areas which were presented in the afternoon panels: “To the Moon & Mars”, “Telescopes: Unravelling the mysteries of the Universe”, “Space Technologies for Moon & Mars”, “Astronauts 2.0: 21st century Explorers to Mars”, “Using local resources on Planets to live”, “Protect & Defend our Planets”, “Space humanities / Leaving the cradle of humanity”. LUNEX task force split up to be present at the different sessions, which were held simultaneously in the afternoon. However, we were not only there in the audience! LUNEX CEO Bernard Foing was a speaker in the session dedicated to Space Resources and gave a talk entitled, “What are the most valuable lunar and planetary resources, and how to harvest them?”. During his talk Prof Foing promoted EuroSpaceHub, whose target is the same as the Switch To Space event: young lunar explorers at the beginning of their Space careers! 

During the day, there were plenty of networking opportunities. We met several astronauts and leading representatives of aerospace and research companies in this field. We had the honor of interviewing three of them for our community: Vladimir Pletser – senior Physicist-Engineer at ESA ESTEC, analog astronaut at the Mars Desert Research Station, at the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station  and also the only person in the world having flown parabolas on ten different aircrafts; Romain Charles, crew member of the 520-day simulation Mars500; Mieke Sterken – Science Communicator and also Education & Outreach Coordinator at the International Polar Foundation. Curious to know more about these inspiring people? Interviews are available on LUNEX Youtube Channel!  

The astronauts were the real stars of the evening plenary and of the following gala evening. On the grand speaker’s panel were: Frank de Winne, Dirk Frimout, Robert Thirsk, Charles Bolden and Anna Lee Fisher. The audience had the opportunity to ask them direct questions. Young people wanted to know what skills are important to become astronauts and to increase the chances of being selected to go to Space. Thirsk’s advice to young students was interesting: 

“Astronauts need two type of skills to be successful. Technical and non technical skills. Personality traits are very important: leadership, group culture, cultural interdisciplinary. You can nurture those skills today: start from now working on these different areas by engaging in your university or school activities”. 

Robert Thirsk

When asked for key advice for the young generation, the astronauts’ answers were: 
– Follow your passion! (Charles Bolden)
– Perseverance! (Anna Lee Fisher)
– Stay hungry! (Frank De Winne)
– Stay out of your comfort zone! (Robert Thirsk)
– Vision! (Dirk Frimout). 

If you know already, Do you want to be the first to know when our EuroSpaceHub digital platform is live?

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